For questions about this project, please click here to contact the Project Chair. There are lots of experiments you can perform with plants.
Countdown to the launch of the Gilroy Lab's space station experiment. The transcriptome is the level to which all the genes in an organism are being switched on or off and measuring this pattern of gene expression is a major goal for the science we will be conducting in space.
The plants will be growing in the Veggie Facility, a plant growth chamber that uses LED-based lighting to be able to grow plants for many weeks. Indeed, the Veggie was recently used by NASA scientists to grow lettuce to a size that the astronauts could harvest their own fresh salad. In addition, we have an opportunity to observe these plants using a light microscope on board the Space Station in the Light Microscopy Module LMMmore on this element below.
Once on orbit, the Dragon should berth with the ISS about two days later and the astronauts should be unpacking our plates and getting ready for the experiment just a few days after that.
The timing is perfect. We have been down to Johnson Space Center on a couple of occasions to train astronauts about how to perform our experiment and before the recent launch delays we were in the unlikely position of having our work scheduled for the tiny period when one trained astronaut Randy Bresnik had finished his mission and come back down and our other trained astronaut Scott Tingle had yet to fly up.
Now, with a December 12th launch, the timing and astronaut schedules have realigned and we are thrilled to have Scott Tingle as our researcher on orbit.
The mechanism behind this effect is very likely to be that in microgravity, buoyancy-driven convection the mixing of gasses driven by warm gas rising does not occur. On Earth such convection mixes gasses around plants and animals and so when respiring organisms use up oxygen it is resupplied by the convective mixing of the air.
In space, this does not occur and so organisms can use up their local oxygen, greatly limiting how much they then have available to continue growth.
We have previously found that on Earth, a molecular pump found on the internal vacuole membrane of plant cells is involved in low oxygen hypoxic signaling. When plants lack this pump, called CAX2, the plant switches on its hypoxic response all the time. This helps plants survive for a few days under conditions such as when the area they are growing in becomes flooded.
In the plants lacking CAX2, this response is always present and the prediction is these plants which are pre-adapted to hypoxia will grow better in space. Shawn Stephens One other characteristic of plants grown in space seems to be an increase in oxidative stress.
This is the kind of damage to human biology that high antioxidant diets are trying to combat. One major source of oxidative signals and damage is an enzyme called RBOHD, thus we are also flying plants which lack this protein to see how much it contributes to the changes seen in spaceflight.
Then, in order to prevent the seeds from just germinating, we use a special far-red light irradiation rig designed and built by Caleb Fitzgerald, one of the undergraduate engineers working in the lab. The far-red light switches on the dormancy program of the seeds and, providing we keep the seeds in the dark, they maintain dormancy for several weeks.
So, we wrap the plates with seeds exposed to the far-red light in foil and pack them for flight. After the trip to orbit, the packages are opened by the astronauts and placed in the Veggie hardware, where the lights of the growth system reverse the dormancy and trigger germination.
After 8 days, the astronauts harvest the plants into special tubes called Kennedy Fixation Tubes KFT that allow us to mix the plants with a liquid fixative designed to stop any biology.
After we receive the frozen samples back in Madison, we will process them and use a technique called RNAseq to measure the levels of all genes in the plant, its transcriptome. We are hoping that by comparison of the mutants to the normal i. We have also engineered these plants with a visual reporter a green fluorescent protein for the RBOHD gene that will allow us to look down the microscope at the fixed, returned plants and see to a cellular level where this gene had become active, giving us a map of responsiveness across the plant body to help put our gene level data in context.
Lastly, while on orbit, we will take advantage of an opportunity to put some of our samples into the LMM.Let’s grow plants in space.
BRIC TOAST II & GeneLAB Experiment, The Gilroy Lab has been again fortunate to secure NASA funding for a second experiment studying the growth of Arabidopsis plants in microgravity on the International Space Station (ISS). Feeding Plants Experiment Through this easy experiment, kids will examine whether or not plants can continue to grow when other liquids are provided besides water.
Using two of the same type of plants, equal in height, experiment with the amount of light received each day and how it affects the growth of each plant. One plant can be placed in front of a south-facing window, which will receive the most light per day.
The experiment offers practical experience with enzyme extraction procedures and is an excellent introduction to the analysis of enzyme activity and basic enzyme kinetics.
A colorimeter is desirable but not absolutely necessary for this exercise. Plant physiology is the study of how different parts of plants function. It includes many aspects of plant life, including nutrition, movement, and growth. It includes many aspects of plant life, including nutrition, movement, and growth.
Knowledge and application of tools in plant molecular biology and biochemistry The students will gain a thorough understanding of the basic laboratory techniques in plant molecular biology.